'The Great Teacher of Journalists' Few Americans know that Kim Jong Il is, among other things, editor of the landmark reporting textbook, The Great Teacher of Journalists. Originally published in 1983, (and available in English!) it's an instruction manual on how journalists should conduct their work. Turns out, reporters are the heroes of the world's remaining totalitarian states. The "Dear Leader" takes great pains to protect them from things like noisy trucks and cars outside the newspaper office by rerouting traffic so they can work in silent, beneficial conditions. He sends a special car to ferry reporters when it's raining. He takes particular interest in grooming the next generation of party-friendly scribes, instructing them to read more books so they can grow up into great editorial writers. He lovingly corrects mistakes with three-color ballpoint pens, the better to see his comments and his notes of praise for even a small success...
NPR logo 'The Great Teacher of Journalists'

'The Great Teacher of Journalists'

'The Great Teacher of Journalists' by Kim Jong Il

The U.N. Security Council is busily drafting a resolution condemning North Korea for its missile tests earlier this week. Still up in the air is whether the resolution will be binding or not and which of the 15 nations on the council will support it. The current draft, supported by the U.S. and Britain, declares the recent missile launches and any future ones "a threat to international peace and security."

But perhaps the motives of North Korea's "Dear Leader," Kim Jong Il, aren't so bad? At least, you might think that from this rather sardonic submission to Mixed Signals, from NPR's Kitty Eisele:

Few Americans know that Kim Jong Il is, among other things, editor of the landmark reporting textbook, The Great Teacher of Journalists. Originally published in 1983, (and available in English!) it's an instruction manual on how journalists should conduct their work. Turns out, reporters are the heroes of the world's remaining totalitarian states. The "Dear Leader" takes great pains to protect them from things like noisy trucks and cars outside the newspaper office by rerouting traffic so they can work in silent, beneficial conditions. He sends a special car to ferry reporters when it's raining. He takes particular interest in grooming the next generation of party-friendly scribes, instructing them to read more books so they can grow up into great editorial writers. He lovingly corrects mistakes with three-color ballpoint pens, the better to see his comments and his notes of praise for even a small success.

His "warmth of care reaches far-off continents." He makes sure reporters get a hot breakfast, that their apartments don't leak and aren't wanting for kitchen utensils. His affection extends into reporters' personal lives -- with wedding toasts, funeral eulogies and advice for the births of new children: "the kings in our country." He knows the importance of a "rousing morning theme tune" and "seeing things on the spot" and printing broadcast scripts in large typeface, the better to read with vigor to the waiting masses.

So, if things don't work out on the missile front, I'm guessing there are a fair number of newsrooms who might welcome someone who's not cutting budgets, but bringing flowers, wine and tributes to the lowly scribes who cover the news. "